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Students doing “Tree Pose” at the YMCA.

Some years ago, as news director of KALG-Radio, Alamogordo, New Mexico (where Oppenheimer tested the atomic bomb, White Sands Missile Range), I often interviewed local officials including the mayor of Alamogordo. On one memorable occasion when we were engaged in the intricacies of a local issue, the mayor abruptly interrupted my questioning and said, “K.I.S.S!”

I was surprised and did not know what he meant. He clarified: “In this day and age, the issues of life are complex,” thus, he stressed the acronym, K.I.S.S, emphasizing that “we are stupid if we don’t keep it simple!” This clarification stuck with me throughout my broadcast journalism career and is significant to me today in teaching Yoga in clear terms that everyone can understand.

Learning Yoga is about clarification of word choice. The use of “acronyms” are not appropriate to clearly learn a Yoga posture. “Acronyms,” do not represent a substitute for specific word choice. According to Webster’s dictionary ‘acronyms” are “formed from the first letters of words in a phrase that stand for an organization or other nouns, such as, ‘SCUBA’ or ‘self-contained, underwater breathing apparatus.’”

In the space technology industry, acronyms have been invented to substitute for specific definitions. In Elon’s book, “Elon Musk” (Ashlee Vance, Harper Collins, 2015) he stresses clarity of terms. He says in this vast complexity of space age technology there is no substitute for clear language. Musk says that “there is a creeping tendency to use acronyms for complex terms” but he emphasizes “that they are an impediment to communication.” He adds, “I will take drastic action unless an acronym is approved by me as reasonably justified, delineated or eliminated.” In Yoga, specific clear terms are stressed to learn a Yoga posture. Generalizations and acronyms are not valid. Yoga terms are clearly defined to create a safe and meaningful practice.

As in the picture of the YMCA Yoga class, practioners are demonstrating a balance posture, “Tree Pose.” Yoga postures are clearly defined for all to understand and apply. Complex balance poses require specific definitions. Broad generalizations are not helpful in creating core yoga postures.

To appreciate specific self-instruction, begin your practice with “Tadasana, standing straight with feet shoulder width apart and take a deep breath through the nose with eyes closed; exhale through the nose. Study your form and initiate the posture. The body will conform to your instructions. The body will also respond to negative input such as unconsciously slumping into a “hunched back,” if not corrected.

As you learn Yoga postures, stick to your program. Carve out downtime to rest and renew. Feel your energy awakening. Focus your mindset on healing and breaking through physical bondage. Fulfill new goals you set out to achieve. Stay positive as you engage you mind/body to achieve your goals. Apply essential oils to calm the mind and enhance your Yoga experience. Focus on having fun as you create the a new “you!”

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